Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Vocabulary fun:

Commenting on Tuesday's primary (and worth reading), Dick Polman writes:
Missouri. Another state with strong symbolic value for the Democratic candidates. The state borders Arkansas, where Hillary once reigned as First Lady; on the Democratic side, it also has a mix of black voters (in the cities and suburban St. Louis County) and rural white conservative voters. The polls are virtually even. Whoever wins this high-turnout affair will probably spin the victory as a statement of autumn electability, because Missouri is one of our most durable bellwethers. In the last 104 years, it has voted for the winning presidential candidate in every election, with the sole exception of 1956.
"Missouri is one of our most durable bellwethers"

bellwether     Where did that word come from? The definition at
1. a wether or other male sheep that leads the flock, usually bearing a bell.

2. a person or thing that assumes the leadership or forefront, as of a profession or industry: Paris is a bellwether of the fashion industry.

3. a person or thing that shows the existence or direction of a trend; index.

4. a person who leads a mob, mutiny, conspiracy, or the like; ringleader.
wether     It means:
1. a castrated male sheep.

2. Also called wether wool. wool from previously shorn sheep.
So "bellwether" originally was a castrated male sheep that leads the flock.


Not to be confused with a bell-possum, which is possum with a bell tied around its neck to annoy the other possums and ultimately drive them away

By Blogger Anthony, at 2/07/2008 5:25 PM  

So a bellwether is another form of Judas goat.

By Anonymous Bryan, at 2/08/2008 2:49 PM  

Post a Comment